AbstractAn aerosol climatology over the southern North Sea region has been set up using aerosol optical properties derived from regular
sunphotometer (AERONET) and lidar (EARLINET) measurements between April and September for the years 2000–2003. Data from four AERONET sites in the North Sea coastal region (Helgoland Island, Oostende, Hamburg and Lille) and, for comparison purposes, also from two “maritime sites” (Rame Head and Azores Island) are selected. The variability of the aerosol optical depth τa(500) and the spatial distribution of aerosol optical depth τa(500), Ångström wavelength exponent α440−870 , as well as of
retrieved microphysical aerosol parameters (single scattering albedo, index of refraction, particle size distribution) are studied. The 4 years of observations show great similarities between the North Sea coastal sites and Helgoland Island. Although 70 km separated from the coast, the aerosol optical properties found at the island are much closer to those at Hamburg, Oostende and Lille
than at the maritime sites Rame Head and Azores.
Compared to the standard aerosol models differences in the Ångström wavelength exponent α440−870 , the single scattering albedo and the refractive index are detected. Based on these observations a new aerosol model for the atmospheric correction of coastal water reflectance spectra of the imaging spectrometer MERIS/ENVISAT was set up, which meets in particular the higher Ångström wavelength exponent of the coastal sites compared to standard maritime conditions.